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There hasn't been much of an offseason for former Woodmore and current University of Michigan discus thrower Erin Pendleton.

Fortunately, Pendleton has taken full advantage of her time off from school this summer.

The Michigan sophomore took first place in the discus on June 25 at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Her throw of 172-04 was enough to qualify her to compete as a member of Team USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships from July 19-25 in Moncton, Canada.

As a Team USA member, Pendleton, 19, competed against Junior athletes from all over the world.

This year marks the fourth IAAF Junior World meet for Pendleton, whose Junior eligibility expires this year. She placed fifth at the IAAF World Youth Championships in 2007 and 12th at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2008.

“She feels a little old,” said Pendleton's father/coach, Mike Pendleton.

On Tuesday, Erin competed in Group B at the IAAF event and threw 169-75 to take second behind group winner Irina Rodriguez of Portugal, who threw 170-04. The Junior women's finals were to be held Thursday night.

“All that did (Tuesday) was get her to qualify for the meet on Thursday,” Mike Pendleton said. “They have what they call a pre-meet, which qualifies for the meet. You either had to throw 53 meters (173.88 feet) or place in the top 12. This got her in the top 12. She's sitting fifth, but all those numbers don't matter. She will be in the meet now. Now it's three throws and they take the top nine to the finals and they get an additional three throws.

pic-emilypendleton
                   Emily Pendleton

“I'm very happy about it and excited about it. As a dad, let alone her coach, you're always worried about what the first flight (Group A) did. There were some really good throwers in the first flight. I'm pretty pumped about it. Hopefully she will do pretty well (Thursday). In 26 years of the Junior meet, the U.S. has only scored a silver and a bronze medal. We've never won gold. Erin's got a good chance. She's peaked for this; she's been training for this.”

Her performance at the IAAF Junior Worlds and at the USATF meet in Des Moines has helped Erin get over her performance at the NCAA Championships on June 9 in Eugene, Ore. Her best throw of 165-0 at the NCAAs wasn't good enough to advance her to the finals, and she placed 12th.

“She was disappointed in her performance and she was nervous because it was her first NCAAs,” Mike said. “She was pretty motivated in Des Moines to make this Junior team. It was hot there and she led from the first throw. She was not happy with her performance (in Oregon), so she worked like a dog.”

Erin's youngest sister, Carly, 17, threw 137-00 at the Junior Nationals in Des Moines to finish 20th. It was the first Junior National meet for Carly, who will be a senior at Woodmore this fall. She was the Division III runner-up in the discus at the 2010 Ohio state meet in Columbus.

 

“She did OK,” Mike said of Carly's performance in Des Moines. “I worry more this year about wind than normal, because she's left handed. When you go into meets now and 98 percent of the throwers are right-handed, if you have a good right-handed wind, that's a bonus. At the Junior meet, it was a strong right-handed wind. You have to be really strong to muscle it through that, and she's not at that strength level yet.

“She started off with a foul, which is never good. Emily, in her first big meet, fouled out, and so did Erin. Those were national meets. The experience of it all, we've learned from the past and Carly had a good meet compared to that. She has two more years of eligiblity for this (Junior National) meet, and I'm tickled about that. There's a really good future for her at that meet.”

Emily Pendleton, 21, who will be a senior at Michigan, competed in the

women's Senior/Open discus event on June 27 in Des Moines. Her best throw of 173-03 at the USATF event placed her eighth in the event, which was open to professional athletes.

 

“That was her best performance, with a tail wind, she's ever done,” Mike said. “I was very pleased with it. She followed the gold medalist (Becky Breisch, who threw 207-10) and her focus wasn't there. The gold medalist is 6-foot-5 with a seven-foot wingspan, which is intimidating. Overall, I was very pleased with the meet.”

Emily placed 11th at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2006 and she also won the National Junior Championships in 2006 along with a Junior Pan-Am Games gold medal in Brazil in 2007.

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